Monday, February 1, 2010

Battle brews over NASA budget

U.S. astronauts won't return to the moon as planned if Congress passes President Obama's proposed $19 billion NASA budget. But the commitment to the International Space Station will extend to 2020, and $6 billion will be invested in a plan to have commercial companies get more involved in space flight. The budget will now be sliced and diced by Congress. Some predict a major battle. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., says the budget "begins the death march for the future of U.S. human space flight." The Constellation Program, which sought to send astronauts to the moon by 2020, also envisioned establishing a moon colony. But the White House Budget Office says it's behind schedule, over budget and overall less important than other space investments. (Sources: Multiple, including CNN, Space Daily, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Washington Post, 02/01/10) Gulf Coast note: Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center, Miss., are both involved in the Constellation Program.